Hydrogen-electric powertrain developer H2FLY has secured funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) as part of its regional commercial aircraft fuel cell development, aiming to develop and test a high-performance system with an output of 350kW. The funding marks the commencement of the BALIS 2.0 Project, launched at Stuttgart Airport.

H2FLY is the leader of the initiative, set to receive €9.3 million from the BMDV over the next two years, with funding also provided as part of the German Recovery and Resilience Plan (DARP) via the European Recovery and Resilience Facilities (ARF) in the NextGenerationEU programme.

“Federal funding for BALIS 2.0 demonstrates the growing significance of hydrogen fuel cell systems as a viable solution for clean aviation,” explained Professor Dr Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY. “The project insights will propel the development of megawatt-class powertrains, significantly accelerating the transition to sustainable, zero-emissions flight”.

H2FLY successfully completed the world’s first piloted fight of a liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft in 2023, using cryogenically-stored rather than gaseous fuel; expected to increase the range of H2FLY’s H4 demonstrator aircraft from 466 miles (750km) to 932 miles (1,500km).

The project is also supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Diehl Aerospace. DLR’s test field in Empfingen, Germany (built during the first iteration of the BALIS project) is projected to be operational from 2024 and will be instrumental for upcoming tests, planned for 2025.

“Our contribution to the BALIS 2.0 project underlines the important role of the equipment industry in the development of innovative and eco-efficient aircraft systems and propulsion technologies,” added Florian Maier, president and CEO of Diehl Aerospace. The company notes it will “continue to develop its high-performance and highly reliable platform technology to enable efficient coupling and scaling of fuel cell systems”.

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